The Governments of Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States jointly call for responsible behavior at sea during the 2013-2014 Southern Ocean whaling season.
In a media note issued by the U.S. State Department recently in Washington, D.C., these governments jointly condemn any actions at sea that may cause injury, loss of human life or damage to property or the marine environment.
The governments of Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States remain opposed to commercial whaling, including so-called 'scientific' whaling.
“The Southern Ocean can be a treacherous, remote, and unforgiving environment,” the Media Note stated. “Its isolation and extreme conditions mean that search and rescue capability is extremely limited. Dangerous behavior jeopardizes not only the safety of whaling and protest vessels and their crews but also anyone who comes to their assistance.”
Incidents during the last whaling season have demonstrated the dangers involved.
“We reiterate our call to the masters of all vessels involved to uphold their responsibility to ensure safety at sea, including ensuring that international collision avoidance regulations are strictly observed in order to avoid the risk of loss of life or injury and damage to property or the marine environment,” the statement noted.
“We draw the attention of the masters of all vessels involved to the International Maritime Organization's May 17th, 2010 resolution on assuring safety during demonstrations, protests or confrontations on the high seas, and the International Whaling Commission's 2011 Resolution on Safety at Sea,” the statement emphasized.
“We respect the right to freedom of expression . . . when protests are conducted lawfully and without violence,” the statement continued. “We unreservedly condemn dangerous, reckless, or unlawful behavior by all participants.”
The governments of Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States remain opposed to commercial whaling, including so-called 'scientific' whaling, in particular in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary established by the International Whaling Commission. Lethal research techniques are not required for modern whale conservation and management.
“[We] are committed to improving the conservation status of whales worldwide, maintaining the International Whaling Commission's global moratorium on commercial whaling, and implementing meaningful reform of the International Whaling Commission,” the statement concluded.